Houston >Restaurants > Zelko Bistro
705 E 11th St, Houston, TX | Directions 7700829.791106 -95.389661
11am - 10pm Tuesday through Saturday
10 am - 9pm Sunday
Brunch on Saturday and Sunday from opening to 4 pm
Closed on Mondays
Neighborhoods: Central, Greater Heights
Chef Jamie Zelko made a salmon-lover out of me with her Candied Smoked Salmon. The 1920s bungalow-turned-bistro serves mod-folksy dishes like Soup Can Meatloaf and Shrimp & Grits to many adoring fans in the Heights.
Weekender Guide to The Heights: There's something innately charming about homes that have been converted to host restaurant-goers like family. That cozy feel extends through the cuisine at Zelko, which specializes in American comfort food — right down to the dessert funnel cake
Fresh, healthy wholesome food in a homey Southern- comfort type atmosphere. Chef Jamie Zelko makes delicious shrimp n grits with agave soy is a must try.
awesome comfort food – Simple and very well executed. I had to comment in support after reading that distasteful review by that horror of a customer maethridge. My guess is that she's the kinda bitchy patron that makes a scene whenever the wait staff fails to genuflect when in her presence.
About ZB, I been there many times. They're like family. We've watched them grow and stumble and fall only to pick themselves up and do better the next time. All the stumbling has been with physical problems with the building or the lack of cooling power. What they haven't compromised from the get-go is the great food, cool people (staff and clientele), hip ambience, and an amazing well thought out wine list, maybe the best in Houston for the diversity and price coupled with empassioned knowledge of all things poured by Jeb. ZB could easily get away with charging 25%-50% more for what they do, but they don't and I applaud and defend their vision. Maethridge shouldn't eat out. Anywhere. No, she really shouldn't.
Never disappointed. – The food is amazing and cooked to perfection. Very cozy, service is great, and no, it's not that cheap, but it's not so bad either, and for the price you're paying, it is oh so worth it.
I've been there twice and both times extremely satisfied. Will definitely go there again; absolutely recommend it to everyone.
Terrible, never go back – Food was cold... we didn't send it back but several people around us did. We witnessed the cook rubbing his nose and touching the food. He picked at someones burger to remove the bacon that she didn't want and then took a bunch of fries from the same plate and stuffed them in his mouth. It is discusting. Manager seemed to care when the table complained but then when he turned his back he called the man a bad name. (you can hear everything in a small place like that). It was really a very very bad experience. I would never recommend going here.
Exciting menu, great potential – We ate at Zelko Bistro the second week it was open (pre-Air Conditioning issues) and loved it. The Bruscetta with fresh hummus and feta is a basic Italian staple that is given a Mediterranean twist. The Shrimp and Grits was filling, with the creamy polenta (due to the white cheddar) and large, sauteed gulf shrimp. The Corned Beef and Cabbage was cooked properly. I was able to cut the cured brisket with a fork and cabbage still had a little bit of crunch to it. Unfortunately, we didn't try the great looking desserts.
Something new and Really Good!! – I am always on the look out for new exciting places to dine in Houston. Many of the suggestions come from close friends who have had good experiences, and some are picked from a rank list from CitySearch or other websites. Zelko Bistro was one that was referred to us by close friends, and in addition, received high marks on customer satisfaction on CitySearch. I was eager to try.
I called Zelko to make a reservation for two, and was told that they operated on the first come-first serve basis, which was good enough with me. The woman answering the phone was very friendly and also gave me times which she thought the wait time would be less. She told us to come after 8pm, but we ended up going earlier, around 7pm (which she said was peak time for dinner on a Friday). The restaurant is tucked away in the Heights, and is located in a refurbished small home. The place is small! But that is what gives it character, and one of the things that drove me to try it out.
We arrived around 7pm and, due to some road construction, had to park our car down the street. The place was crowded with some customers sitting on the small front porch, I assumed waiting for a table. We were seated immediately. The seating arrangement is a little different, and if you are a two-some you will get squeezed in a perimeter, booth like setting, next to another table. Almost too close. But like I said, the place is small, and it was also packed. The close quarters also made it very easy to greet your neighbor and compare food and wine; last night it worked out that we sat next to a friendly two-some that we chatted with most of the hour.
I had read on CitySearch about the fish tacos and meatloaf. We decided to start out with some fried pickles and some sort of horseradish sauce. The pickles came out hot, and were not heavily battered. They were also very good, and the portion was large for two people. We had some house Pinot Noir which was good, but really nothing special. Our entree was meatloaf and fish tacos, of which we split. The fish tacos were fresh, and full of lettuce, corn, and some fresh fruit ( pineapple ), and other herbs. They almost tasted like a fresh spring roll. They were done in flour tortillas, not corn, and were very good. The only thing I could have asked for would have been to have more fish in the taco. Most of the flavor was over powered by the pineapple and it was hard to pull out the fish. But, it was very good, and seemed light rather than heavy. Now the meatloaf was another story. This came with mashed potatoes that were phenomenal. The meatloaf was perfectly cooked and seasoned to perfection; with some roasted tomatoes on top that accented the flavor perfectly. The meatloaf was awesome, and that will be something I order for myself next time I return.
The food was great, despite some of my nit-picking comments. I thought the waiter was good, but he was super busy with a packed house. The cleaning crew was good, making sure not to leave dirty plat
Fresh Food at a Quintessential Heights Restaurant – Zelko Bistro could not be more neighborhood-centric if they tried. Local chefs? Check. Refurbished 1920s bungalow (with plans to incorporate the antiquated gas station next door as part of the restaurant in the future, which I can’t wait to see)? Check. Reasonably-priced seasonal menu and wine list? Check. Hiring mostly Heights-area residents as staff? Check. They seem to have everything covered... oh, except the parking, and the broken AC (but I expect they will get that fixed). Our party of 6 expected a wait as we strolled in at 7:30 on a Saturday night, and it was almost an hour before we were seated. The hour went quickly, as we sat the bar with the very knowledgeable bartender, who suggested wines and beers for our diverse group. Everyone was apologetic about the A/C issues, but we noticed as the sun went down, the place cooled off quite a bit. We ordered the fried pickles (spears) with in-house-made ranch as an appetizer, and as soon as they came out (and all 6 of us were agreeing their homemade pickles “awesome”), another order came out - apparently the chef decided the first batch wasn’t up to his high standards, and sent out the second ones complementary. Yum.
I ordered the Market Catch of the day (Halibut) with tomato-and-pineapple salsa, white asparagus, and arugula salad. While tasty, I did find the fish and salad a bit too salty (the asparagus, however, needed salt - odd.). My friends loved the grilled shrimp and grits, and the ribs. The burgers were ranked “good,” but were a little overcooked. The skinny-cut fries with parmesan and truffle oil were different and delicious. As time for dessert rolled around, it was getting late and they were out of our first pick - the chocolate pecan cake. They did have a couple off-the-menu selections, and we ordered a chocolate Oreo cake with butter cream frosting. It was a lot less rich than it sounds, and the Oreos blended in with the cake in a very sophisticated way. Our 2 friends that don’t usually like chocolate even liked it!
Overall, the menu and food reminded us of a more down-home Shade (fitting, as one of the partners is a former Shade chef). The service was outstanding and the food left us all wanting to try more.
Pretty Good – We went to Zelko's last week after hearing rave reviews. First of all the food is fantastic! I really enjoyed my meal and the prices were very reasonable for the quality! The Sangria needs a little tweaking though. The AC happend to be broken so it was painstakingly hot in the retaurant and I was disappointed that they were limited on what beer they had in stock. Our waiter was very nice but it seemed that he was either very busy or very slow. The decor is relaxing and very quaint... I would give Zelko's another try...maybe it was just an off night when we went.
Citysearch Editorial Review – After earning accolades during her stint at Lancaster Bistro, Chef Jamie Zelko settled a cozy white bungalow in the Heights for her eponymous personal project with partner and former Shade chef Jeb Stuart. Forty five tables fit snugly into the neo-vintage dining room, which manages to make visitors feel as if they were merely invited to a dinner party. That’s largely the point: The gentrified comfort food from fried pickles with housemade Ranch to the tender root beer short ribs is priced for the neighborhood, paired with an equally affordable wine list and served unpretentiously. The garden out back and locally sourced ingredients make this chef driven restaurant that much homier.
Sign in with Facebook Sign in with Facebook to see what your friends are up to!
Do you have a review of Zelko Bistro on your blog? If you include the Citysearch image link (shown below) in your post, we'll automatically link to your review from the business profile page. Here's how our Linkback system works:
The Linkback system is free and automatic. It's really that easy.
To link to our business profile page, copy the html below to your web page.